The Chilliwack Chiefs will be down one space-hogging defenceman next season as Vincent Desharnais moves on to the NCAA collegiate ranks.
The Zdeno Chara-sized D-man has accepted a scholarship to Providence College, joining the defending division one champions. Desharnais’ new team took the NCAA’s Frozen Four title earlier this month with a 4-3 win over the Boston Terriers.
The Friars play their home games in Rhode Island.
They compete in the Hockey East conference — a 12 team group that includes Boston, Boston College, Notre Dame, New Hampshire, Vermont, Northeastern, Connecticut, Maine, Merrimack, Massachusetts and Massachusetts-Lowell.
Providence doesn’t dip into the BCHL well often.
Their championship roster included just two BCHL grads, Brandon Tanev (Surrey) and Josh Monk (West Kelowna).
Desharnais, a Quebec kid, played 54 regular season games for the Chiefs, scoring once and adding four assists.
He upped the offence in the playoffs with a goal and seven helpers in 12 games, and was named Chilliwack’s top defenceman.
Desharnais is rated by the National Hockey League’s Central Scouting Bureau and could be picked in June’s NHL entry draft.
He is the ninth member of the 2014-15 Chiefs committing to an NCAA school.
Players leaving this year are Tipper Higgins (Army), Craig Puffer (Vermont), Jake Hand (Lake Superior State), Eric Roberts (Alaska-Anchorage), Luke McColgan (Alaska-Anchorage), Scott Davidson (Quinnipiac) and David Jacobson (Arizona State).
Young blueliner Dennis Cholowski will give Chilliwack one more season before moving on to St. Cloud in 2016-17.